Rebels Split Doubleheader, Claim Series from No. 10 Arkansas
April 28, 2017
Game 2 Box Score
Saturday’s series finale was moved up a day due to inclement weather. Splitting the twinbill along with winning the series opener last night, Ole Miss claimed the three-game SEC set. For the Rebels, it was the second victorious series over a top 10 team this season.
Next week, the Rebels will host ULM for a pair of midweek matchups at Swayze Field (May 2-3). Then, Ole Miss returns to the road for SEC play, heading south to face the nationally ranked Florida Gators in three games (May 5-7). The first four games of the week will air on SECN+, while the series finale with Florida will be a SEC Network broadcast.
Game 2: Arkansas 7, Ole Miss 4
Game two was a back-and-forth battle. Ole Miss jumped out to a 3-0 lead early, before Arkansas responded with four runs in the middle innings to take its own lead. The Rebels tied the game in the seventh before the Razorbacks scored three in the eighth, hanging on to a 7-4 win.
Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Thomas Dillard recorded two hits apiece and each knocked in runs for the Rebels. Blackman started off the game by hitting a home run for the second consecutive night, belting his seventh homer of the season. Dillard added his fourth home run as well with a solo shot to left, the second from the right side of the plate for the switch hitter. Bortles finished off his solid weekend by going 2-for-3 with a double as well as the game-tying RBI single in the seventh.
In relief, redshirt-sophomore Brady Feigl pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Despite not giving up an earned run, Will Stokes (1-1) suffered the loss when three unearned runs cross the plate during his appearance on the mound.
For Arkansas, catcher Grant Koch went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer to tally a game-high three RBI. Jake Reindl (2-0) pitched 6.1 innings of relief to earn the victory, while Evan Lee (1) picked up the save by working out of a jam in the ninth.
Just like in game one, the Rebels wasted no time in getting on the board. On a 2-2 pitch, Blackman left the yard with a solo blast to begin the contest. After scoring one in the first, Ole Miss added a pair of runs in the second frame thanks to a two-out rally by the bottom of the order. Dillard started it all with a missile that went over the Arkansas bullpen and even the box seats in left field. The home run from the right side of the plate doubled the Ole Miss cushion. On the next at-bat, Cooper Johnson drew a walk before rolling into third on a double by Grae Kessinger. The sequence forced Arkansas starter Kacey Murphy out of the contest. Following the change on the mound, the first pitch got away from the catcher; Johnson crossed the plate easily to make it 3-0 Ole Miss.
Arkansas cut the Rebels’ lead to one in the third as Koch hit a two-run homer to left field. Along with what his fellow starting pitchers did in the first two contests, David Parkinson shook off the home run by retiring six straight hitters. However, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Chad Spanberger’s solo shot moved the game to a 3-3 standstill. A walk and a double followed, giving the Razorbacks their first lead of the series and lifting Parkinson from the game. Head coach Mike Bianco called upon Fiegl from the bullpen, and the redshirt-sophomore got a big strikeout to end the inning with two Hogs on base. After five innings, Arkansas flipped a 3-0 deficit into a one-run lead, 4-3.
The Rebels tied the game back up with a run in the seventh. Blackman smoked a double down the left field line before Golsan used a sacrifice bunt to move him to third. With the tying run 90 feet away, Bortles singled to center on the first pitch he saw to bring in Blackman and knot the contest at four runs apiece.
In the bottom of the eighth, Arkansas took advantage of two Rebel miscues that kept the inning alive and allowed three runs to cross the plate. Eric Cole and Jax Biggers produced the RBI singles following the errors to give the Razorbacks a 7-4 advantage.
Ole Miss fought in the ninth, getting the first two batters on base and bringing the tying run to the plate. Arkansas went to its bullpen for the second time in the inning, going with Lee. With a deep fly to left field, Golsan nearly tied the game; however, the ball fell short and found an Arkansas glove at the wall. Two more flyouts ended the game, giving the Razorback the three-run win.
Game 1: Ole Miss 4, Arkansas 1
In game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Ole Miss baseball team batted around and scored four runs in the opening inning. That’s all the Rebels (27-16, 11-9 SEC) needed as their pitching limited No. 10 Arkansas to five hits in a 4-1 win. The victory clinched a conference series over the Razorbacks (33-13, 12-9) for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison (6-2) matched his career high with 6.0 innings of work, allowing only one run on four hits to earn his second win in as many starts. Out of the bullpen, the duo of Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk (9) pitched the final three frames to keep the game in favor of Ole Miss. Ethridge continued his streak of effective outings with 1.1 scoreless innings, while Woolfolk recorded the final five outs to collect another save.
Tate Blackman and Nick Fortes produced multi-hit games to pace the Ole Miss bats. A two-RBI double by Fortes in the first ended up being the game-winning hit. The bottom of the lineup chipped in the three hits among Kyle Watson, Cooper Johnson and Grae Kessinger. Towards the top of the order, Colby Bortles and Will Golsan added one hit and one run apiece.
For the second straight game, the only run Arkansas got off Ole Miss pitching came via a solo home run. Grant Koch went deep for the Razorbacks, while left fielder Luke Bonfield went 2-for-4. The Rebels scored all four of their runs off starter Trevor Stephan (4-3), but he rebounded to finish 6.0 innings.
Ole Miss jumped on the Razorbacks right from the start, sending 10 hitters to the plate to score four runs in the first. Blackman led off the game with a single to left and advanced into scoring position after Golsan was hit by a pitch. Another base hit to left field, this time by Bortles, brought Blackman home for the game’s first run. Ryan Olenek moved both runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, and Fortes knocked in both Rebels with a double down the left field line. Johnson nearly doubled down the line as well, but a diving stop by the Arkansas third baseman prevented the extra-base hit. Nonetheless, the sharply-hit ball was enough for an infield single that allowed another run to cross the dish. After 40 pitches during the 26-minute half inning, the Rebels led comfortably 4-0.
Stephan settled down to keep Ole Miss off the scoreboard, but Rolison pitched the first four innings without allowing a run. After retiring nine straight hitters, the southpaw gave up a solo homer to Koch with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Watson went back to the wall, but the ball barely sailed over his outstretched glove. Despite Arkansas scoring via the long ball, Rolison wasn’t rattled as he sent down back-to-back Razorbacks. Through five complete, Ole Miss remained on top 4-1.
Arkansas tried to cut into the Rebels’ advantage by putting two Razorbacks on base with one out in the sixth. However, Rolison remained calm by striking out back-to-back hitters to end the threat and put an exclamation point on another victorious quality start.
Ole Miss turned the game over to its bullpen for the final three innings as Ethridge and Woolfolk completed the job. The Razorbacks were only able to get two runners on base over that stretch, but the Rebel relievers made sure there was no threat to the 4-1 victory.
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